Much of the air in Utah looks pretty awful. How bad is it? When could it get better?

Due to the gusts and dust of the western desert, the air in Salt Lake City looks uncomfortable.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Wind blows dust into the Salt Lake Valley on Monday, June 19, 2023.

The chunky gusts that swept through Utah on Monday made the air look terribly gross, but the hazy sky seemed worse than it really was.

“Luckily,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Alex DeSmet, “it wasn’t worse than moderate conditions.”

A cold front stretching south of Logan to east of Wendover — coupled with low pressure to the west — drove strong, warm winds through the region, DeSmet said. These gusts carried dust, mostly from Utah’s western desert, into the Salt Lake Valley.

DeSmet said the best solution for those who are sensitive to reduced air quality is to limit time outdoors.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Wind blowing dust into the Salt Lake Valley on Monday, June 19, 2023.

The strongest valley gust of the day actually swept through Beaver County, where winds hit 59 miles per hour in Milford, nearly 200 miles south of Salt Lake City.

In Salt Lake County, the Weather Service recorded gusts of 49 mph on the Bank of West Jordan, 48 mph on the University of Utah campus and 46 mph at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Winds were forecast to ease by early evening, giving way to rain.

(Blake Apgar | The Salt Lake Tribune) Stormy conditions carried dust from Utah’s western desert into the Salt Lake Valley on Monday, June 19, 2023.

The Weather Service expected showers to develop from Idaho to Dugway, with rain hitting the Salt Lake Valley between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and continuing through the rest of the evening.

“The combination of the easing winds tonight and the showers,” DeSmet said Monday afternoon, “will help bring our air quality back to good levels later into the night.”

Justin Scaccy

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